Issued by the Scottish Government
Scottish food and drink producers today received a £1 million boost to ensure they are ready to make 2014 an unforgettable year for Scottish food and drink.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead told a conference today that producers must ensure they are ready to reap the rewards offered by the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and Year of Homecoming in 2014.
The cash supports the delivery of the Food and Drink 2014 Action Plan which is designed to make sure producers and businesses are ready to grasp the opportunities these events offer and ensure Scotland plays its part on the world stage as a Land of Food and Drink.
Mr Lochhead said the action plan, created by a partnership between Scottish Government, Scotland's enterprise agencies, Event Scotland and Scotland Food and Drink, was the start of an ambitious journey to grasp the best chance of a generation to showcase our world class natural larder and secure maximum economic and reputational value for Scotland's high performing food and drink sector.
The funds will be used to support work around:
It complements the actions from the plan which have already been undertaken or are underway. These include:
Mr Lochhead said:
"The stage is set for 2014 to be a truly spectacular year for Scottish food and drink. With the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and the Year of Homecoming all taking place in Scotland in that year, there will be unprecedented opportunities to showcase the magnificent produce Scotland has to offer.
"However, it's vital that companies prepare in advance to give themselves the best possible opportunity to reap the rewards on offer. For example, over the next nine months, the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, responsible for delivering the Games, is expected to procure catering services contracts worth up to £8 million.
"That's why we have prepared our 2014 Action Plan to help Scottish food and drink firms maximise their competitive advantage and ensure they're well placed to capitalise on the economic opportunities on offer and to promote Scotland's reputation as a land of food and drink.
"The funding I have announced today will help to deliver the action plan and help to keep Scottish firms ahead of the curve.
"Here in Scotland, we produce some of the world's finest produce and 2014 will offer us incredible opportunities to showcase our food and drink to the world, broaden the market for our goods overseas and boost our already booming export market. This is good news for our economy, good news for our producers and good news for Scotland."
Scotland Food and Drink chief Executive James Withers said:
"We have an extraordinary opportunity in 2014 to create a lasting legacy for our food and drink sector. We want to set a new benchmark for local food and drink provision at major events and we're working with the organising groups of the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and Homecoming on that vision. This funding from Scottish Government is a pivotal step towards achieving our ambitions for 2014.
"Our showcasing of Scottish food and drink at the Olympics last month was an insight into what we can achieve. However, the hard work for 2014 starts now. With less than 700 days until the opening ceremony in Glasgow, we are developing a programme of work with food and drink businesses of all sizes so they can seize the opportunities over the next two years. Scotland is a land of food and drink and this is a once in a generation opportunity to showcase that."
In 2011 turnover in Scotland's food and drink industry grew by six per cent, gross value add was up nine per cent and exports hit an all time high of £5.4 billion, an increase of 10 per cent compared to previous year.